Tuesday, July 27, 2010

from killer whales to superheroes

We have had such a fun July. I didn't plan for it to be as busy as it turned out, but I'm so thankful we packed in as many fun things as we did.

Family Reunion
In late June, my brother Matthew, his girlfriend Tracie and her two sweet kids, Taylor and Jake, came to stay at our house for a night. They rented Avatar since I had never seen it, and I must say, it was one of the best movies I've seen in awhile. Then we all got up and went to our family reunion together at my Uncle Don & Aunt Sharon's house in Spring. They have a beautiful pool in their backyard and all the cousins had a blast swimming and hanging out.

This is me and my sweet cousin Sara!! She and I were the only McReynolds girls for a very long time and we taught all those boys a thing or two over the years. I love her so much and wish I could see her and her family more often.
Laney decided that MeMe's lap looked like the most comfortable one in the group, so she just climbed right up there and made herself at home. It was very sweet to see my precious grandmother and my sweet baby doing some bonding.

PawPaw was so cute talking to Laney while she just stared at him.
I love this picture Sara took of them having a little conversation.

Hurricane Alex
So on the night that Alex blew torrential rain down on Houston, we decided to use our Fajita Willies coupon for some good Mexican food. We got poured on getting into the resturant and we got poured on going back out to our car. But the food was so worth it. Then since we were drenched anyway, when we got home, we decided to get our bath toys and rubber duckies and have a duck race in the river that was our street. Not the best picture, but since it was Laney's first time to wear her raincoat and her first duck race, I had to remember this night. I'm pretty sure I saw one of our neighbors look at the window and laugh at us. Oh well, we had fun.

Discovery Green
A fun free little outing we took to Houston's new downtown park turned out to be a big hit. There happened to be a dog jumping contest there, which was so much fun to watch. We saw one golden retriever jump 24 feet into the water to get his toy! It was so amazing! The playground was really fun and of course, the girls loved the splash pad! We couldn't believe this big beautiful park was tucked in right next to Minute Maid Park and the George R. Brown. We will definitely go back, maybe right after a hot Astros game!

Sea World
This was a last minute decision, but we found a great coupon online for Sea World tickets and since we have free lodging and free babysitting for Laney (thanks Mom & Dad), we decided it would be fun to take Avery and Tatum to experience my all-time favorite amusement park! I was nervous standing in line to buy our tickets b/c I was afraid my awesome coupon wouldn't work and we'd have to pay way too much money. But they took it and we got in, and for a small second I felt kinda bad like we'd robbed them. But I felt okay again after our ONE drink cost us $8.95. That day might have been the funnest day of the whole summer. I can't say enough good things about that place. Shamu made me cry. I kept fighting back tears when I saw those gigantic wild sea animals letting the humans kiss them and waving or clapping their fins at us. It was breath-taking! We sat in the "splash zone" for every show, but we only really got wet at Shamu's show. We rode the only two roller coasters that Tatum was big enough to ride and it was hilarious. We all screamed and hollared and it was way too fun watching the girls experience that for the first time. We hung out in the waterpark awhile and did the wave pool and the lazy river. We didn't take a stroller, which turned out to be so nice. We occasionally gave the girls a piggy back ride, but they both walked most of the park all by themselves. We stayed from open to close and had an absolute blast. We will definitely try to make that a yearly tradition, if I can find that coupon again next year!!!

Brian and the girls in the Shark House

Trying to pet the dolphins - we were too cheap to buy the special dolphin food, so they didn't like us very much. But it was fun watching them swim around anyway.
Wish I had taken more pictures, but since we were getting wet all day, I kept my camera locked up in our locker most of the day. Next year, I will definitely buy a water proof camera!

Brian has his M.Ed
Brian graduated from Lamar University with his Masters in Administration! He didn't actually walk the stage, but we did celebrate his hard work and accomplishment. Here he is celebrating with a Tatum-smile for the camera!

Galveston oh Galveston
We made it out to Galveston last weekend. We just spent a few hours on the beach, just playing in the sand, having a "mud bath," collecting pretty seashells, etc. Laney was fearless, running out into the waves. Last year when we went, she was still a baby so this was her first real experience in the ocean. We stopped at Freebirds on our way back home and had some Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert.

Power-Up VBS
So our new church is really really big on VBS. I've heard that the head pastor became a Christian at a VBS when he was a little boy, so he puts alot of effort and resources into making VBS great. Well, it was amazing! It was all about the Superheroes, Captain Zirk, Zing, Zap and Zoink and their battles against the "Posers" (the anti-superheroes) to teach them to do the right thing. Hence, we all have superhero shirts with "Z" on them. There was also a Jump team of high school girls that do really fun dances to all the VBS songs we sing. Again, I was blown away. I helped out in the Kindergarten room, so I got to be with Avery and all her little friends each day. It was fun to observe her in that setting and meet all the sweet little kids that are in her Sunday school class. Tatum and Laney got to come too, since I was working it, and they got into the Superhero spirit too. Brian even came with us on Friday because we just had to let him see it all for himself. It was an exhausting week, but definitely one of the best of the summer! Power Up!

Gramps Camp
My parents took Avery & Tatum to San Antonio for five days for their 1st Annual Gramps Camp. They have been planning for months all the fun things they wanted to do with the girls, like Kiddy park, riding the Breckenridge Eagle (train) the Children's Museum, etc. I don't have any pictures, but I know they had a blast. And Brian and I had only one child for five days. It was crazy. We kept saying to each other, "Do you remember when we just had one child and we thought it was so hard??? This is SO easy!" Laney was in hog heaven. Brian and I had so much fun just lavishing our attention on her. We also accomplished my 18-month-old goal for her... only giving her the paci at night and naptime. She took to it really well. Now when she wakes up, she takes the paci out of her mouth and throws it down in her crib and is ready to go. Yeah!
Thanks, Mom & Dad, for giving all of us such a thoughtful and wonderful gift. We all can't wait for Gramps Camp next summer!
New Family
Brian's brother, Brandon, and his fiancee, Adriana, are expecting a baby boy due around Christmas 2010. This is an exciting time for our family, with their wedding in September and the arrival of our first nephew in December! We are so happy for them that they are starting their lives together and we are looking forward to having Adriana and their sweet baby boy in our family. I must admit I am excited to have an excuse to shop in the boy section in all the cute kids stores now too!
Buffy Me
Not really, but for a month now, I've been working out three mornings per week at 5:15 AM. Brian's cousin, David, recently opened his own gym and I've been wanting to try it for awhile, but I only just got the nerve a month ago. There's about 5-6 women that meet, including his sweet wife Melissa, and he is our personal trainer for an hour. We don't do "women" work-outs. We do power lifting. We push his Tahoe across the parking lot. We use sledgehammers to hit huge tractor tires. We push a prowler across turf like a football player. We never do the same thing twice. You never know each morning when you walk in what form of pain you will experience that day. But it's always good pain. I am so thankful he gave me a good deal so I could be a part of it and I'm so thankful to get to experience muscle soreness like this. As an ex-athlete, I LOVE the feeling of soreness. It makes me feel like I accomplished something. It makes me feel like I'm making strides in my attempt to be a Proverbs 31 woman...
"She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong." Proverbs 31:17
Our women's Bible study has been so encouraging to me too. I am so thankful God put this opportunity before me to be a part of this summer study with the ladies He has brought together. I have learned so much from Ruth. She is amazing. God is amazing how He orchestrated Ruth's circumstances and helped her have faith even when she was unloved. She went from being a foreigner in Israel to being the mother of Obed, who was the grandfather of David! Who, of course, is in the same line as Jesus! I love that God took this Moabite woman and gave her a greater future and hope than she could have ever imagined because she took refuge under His wings.
That about wraps up our July. Brian started volleyball this week, so his summer is officially over. I've got about two and a half weeks left. Ouch, that hurt me to type that. But it's okay. Again, God has given me peace that I do not understand, and I know He has a good purpose for me again this year. But I can't deny I have LOVED every minute of this summer being off and spending such great times with my three little blessings. Summer 2011 is not that far away, right?